Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!
In bookish news:
Did you hear that Jessica Townsend signed with Hachette Children’s Group for three more Nevermoor books in the series (she has plots written for a total of nine)? I missed the original announcement, but now I can hardly contain my excitement!!
Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus publishes TOMORROW! Aven is now a high schooler and suddenly has 2,300 new kids in her life. I LOVED this one and I admit I’m hoping this series will continue! You can read my review HERE.
This week on my blog:
- #MustReadin2019 Fall Update
On to my reading for the week…
October 2, 2018
Wow. I’m surprised I’ve not heard more about this book. 13-year-old Flint has been nicknamed “Squint” due to a degenerative eye disease that keeps him from seeing clearly. He’s an artist who loves drawing and is feverishly working to finish his comic book for an upcoming competition. Accustomed to being rejected by the popular crow, Flint is surprised when a new girl named McKell strikes up a conversation and asks for Flint’s help with a project. Can he trust her not to abandon the friendship once she has what she needs? Awww. I just loved Flint’s (AKA “Squint”) voice, the things he learned, and the relationships he developed. Such a touching story including accepting challenges, facing terminal illness, and dealing with painful loss. It’s also worth noting this was co-written by husband/wife team — and they’ve written other novels together (including Mustaches for Maddie, which is now going on my TBR list as it’s based on their own real -life daughter’s experience with a brain tumor).
Sorry For Your Loss
Jessie Ann Foley
June 4, 2019
Pup Flanagan is a junior in high school. He’s the youngest of eight children and had a special connection with his older brother, Patrick. Back when Patrick died of meningitis while away at college, Pup joined a bereavement group where he became attached to a girl named Izzy (who also lost her brother). But after years of being best friends with Izzy, her failure to return his romantic feelings leaves him even more lost than usual. Pup realizes he has no future plans and he is basically failing his art class. That’s when his teacher hands him a camera and asks him to try out photography. And it’s through his camera lens that he begins to see his family in a whole new light.
Granted, these are honest teen characters in a world of hurt, so I can understand the frustrated sarcasm shared while grieving. However, I initially felt a tad uncomfortable with the practice of making fun of people who say “sorry for your loss.” In my experience of loss, it was better when someone acknowledged the hurt instead of just tip-toeing around me. Yet the point remains: Engage with someone who’s in the midst of loss — don’t just say the words and disconnect. That discomfort aside, this was a very honest portrayal of a family in the aftermath of unexpected loss. It was painful and moving and well worth the read.
I don’t know where to start with this one. I took so many photographs of pages I loved that it became laughable because I found something important on every stinkin’ page. To avoid breaking copyright law, I really just need to buy a copy of the book to keep at home so I can highlight and make notes and return to the soothing pages whenever I feel the need. Troublemakers is about community and love and fear and listening and rest and connection and sooooo much more. I’m not going to try to summarize, but please feel free to read the Goodreads synopsis and grab a copy at your earliest convenience. If you’re an educator… or if you have children… or if you know ANY PEOPLE AT ALL… READ. THIS. BOOK. I couldn’t stop thinking about these case studies. In fact, I was in bed in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, just thinking about the children in this book. I could see some of their personality traits in my classrooms of yesteryear, so it really hit home for me. I wish all education majors would read and discuss this book before entering the classroom!
September 4, 2000
Stormbreaker was another book on my #MustReadin2019 list. The Alex Rider series is wildly popular around the world with 14 novels in the series, some prequels, and some additional supplementary books on the market. And now I know why the fandom is so large among teens, tweens, and young adults. Alex is only 14 years old when he loses his uncle, Ian Rider (who just so happens to be his only guardian). Shortly after his uncle’s death, Alex discovers his uncle was a legit spy. This realization turns his world upside down. And, as luck would have it, Alex is now lured into the business to help finish what Uncle Ian started. This was very fast-paced and hard to put down. I read some chapters and listened to others on audiobook and one thing I found interesting was the obvious differences between the audiobook and the book. For example, in one they said “hairdresser” while in the other it said “oral hygienist.” Or the person would answer “no” in one book while saying “of course” in another. Or it was “two weeks” in one edition, but “eleven days” in another. There were numerous differences and entire sentences or sections eliminated from one edition, so it was interesting to see how the story had been edited over the years. In any case, it was an exciting adventure and I’ll continue with the series.
AWARDS: South Carolina Book Award for Junior Book Award (2005), Iowa Teen Award (2005), California Young Readers Medal for Young Adult (2005), Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award (2004)
My dad passed away very unexpectedly on August 31st of 2012 and about a week or two before his passing, he and my mom took a vacation to the Texas coast to relax with my aunt and uncle at their beach house. It was during that trip that my dad and mom began reading the Alex Rider series. Mom said that dad was flying through the books and she could barely keep up. After the funeral, my mom sent me back home to Nebraska with the series. Then this year, my 14 year old son said I HAVE to read them because he loves them so much. So this week was a good beginning. I just HAD to share this photo because I’m so tickled that my uncle captured them reading the first two books (my mom is allergic to the sun if you’re wondering why she’s wearing long-sleeves and pants on a hot summer day – lol). I miss my dad so much, but it brings me some comfort to be enjoying books that he enjoyed. ❤
The House at the End of the Road
September 17, 2019
This is a delightful picture book that is in graphic-novel style in some page spreads. Told from the perspective of a young girl, she explains what happened when she, her brother Patrick, and their cousin Robert visited their Grandma’s house one summer. The three cousins went on a bike ride and wound up at what appeared to be an old abandoned house. But after snooping around a bit, they saw a GHOST! Ahhhhh! They run back home to their grandmother only to discover it wasn’t a ghost, but one of Grandma’s former teachers, Mr. Peterson. When Grandma takes them back to the house, they quickly discover that appearances can be very deceiving. Not only is Mr. Peterson not angry at them for trespassing, but he’s a delightful person and they decide to return to his home again and again. The story is a little bit sad at one point, but the ending is precious and hopeful.
I can’t wait to see the final format of the book because the artwork in the ARC is just wonderful. I loved looking at the finer details, like the decor and patterns in Grandma’s kitchen and living room, the odds and ends in Mr. Peterson’s basement and attic, and the various scenes of the house from the outside. I’ll provide one page-spread from the ARC as an example, below. My sincere thanks to Netgalley and Owlkids for giving me an ARC of this book so that I could provide an honest review. This book publishes TOMORROW!
This beautiful picture book focuses on just 10 species of “marvelous lives” that make their home in one Almendro Tree. Toward the left of each page, young readers will find a brief explanation of the animal in larger font while on the right side of the page there’s a lengthier section in smaller font that provides more details and vocabulary for older readers. And as you turn each page, the number of each animal/insect doubles! In the back matter, Messner has provided more information on The Almendro Tree along with websites to groups and organizations that serve to protect the interests of the tree and the lives that thrive on it. Also included are some fun math problems, books for further reading, and information on a documentary to watch. Thanks to Aaron of Wriggling Bookworms for mentioning this book, last week. I was glad to find it in our library.
The artwork in this book was created with acrylic and pencil on paper. I noticed that the pictures in this book are mostly darker, making the reader feel as though they are really are in the rainforest, hiding under a dense canopy. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
To Be Read:
I reviewed an ARC of 24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling last year and immediately purchased a hardcover copy for my own home. It’s our current family read aloud and the kids are loving it so much, they hardly let me stop. In these first three days, we’re averaging about 45 pages a day, so I’ll need to pick another novel real aloud midweek. I’m also hoping to finish Educated by Tara Westover, this week.